Grounds of the City

With an optimistic approach, I didn’t think The Grounds of the City would be that busy as it was brunch time on a weekday but as we turned the corner at The Galeries, TimmyC and I were faced with a large crowd. Luckily most of them were waiting for coffee and takeaways and the line for a table was relatively short. We placed our name and number for a table of two on the list and was advised that there’d be a 20-30 minute wait, 18 minutes later we received an SMS that our table was ready.Walking inside the restaurant was like teleporting back to an era where men would wear hats with suits and would read the newspaper instead of staring at their phones.  There were so many things to look at, I didn’t know which way to turn my head until my gaze was distracted by the cake trolley. Yes, you read that right, you can request the cake trolley to be wheeled to you. I feel it would pair perfectly with a bottomless cup of tea (which is also on the menu).Flat white ($4.00). TimmyC really enjoyed his coffee, I now understand why there was a huge queue outside waiting for takeaway.Black truffle omelette with mushrooms and goats curd ($28.00) plus a side of bacon ($5.00). TimmyC at first had chosen eggs benedict for breakfast which was quickly vetoed by me as I heard about the specials. This choice was so popular, it was sold out soon after we had placed our order. When the server placed the plate on the table, I found the smell of truffles intoxicating. The omelette was perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed the addition of the subtle sourness that the creamy goats curd provided. I loved how ordering a side of bacon meant a plate of bacon rather than just a single rasher- WIN!The Bakery Basket The Grounds continental selection of freshly baked pastries with house-made preserves, cultured butter and whipped mascarpone ($16.00). I thought the delicious flaky buttery pastries didn’t need anything more, so not to waste the delicious condiments, we ordered a slice of sour dough toast ($4.00). I loved everything about this (I even started to just eat the mascarpone when I ran out of things to spread it on) and thinking about it again makes me salivate. The cherry on top was that they warmed the pain au chocolat perfectly to give a molten chocolate centre.So delicious and melty on the inside while being crispy and flaky on the outside.When eating in Sydney CBD, I can tell you where to get ramen, congee, thai stir fries, dumplings and baos, but if you wanted a good brunch spot, I’d be lost for words. The Grounds of the City fills that void and then some. I cannot wait to go back to try more from all parts of their menu and might even stick around for a bottomless cup of tea.

Venue: Grounds of the City

Address: Shop RG 12, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone(02) 9699 2235

Website: http://thegroundscity.com.au/
The Grounds of the City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Lorraine’s Patisserie

Finding myself up the top end of the CBD wanting to get breakfast, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. My sister had told me about Lorraine’s Patisserie ages ago and ever since then, I have wanted to try their famous strawberry and mascarpone cake. It was just a few streets away from Pitt Street Mall, tucked in down the end of a cute little hipster-friendly looking alleyway lined with other funky modern shops. I was surprised to see that the patisserie was really small with no seating and they didn’t sell any beverages – but that didn’t matter as we found the cake cabinet very inviting.

We grabbed a few things and headed into the sun filled seats of Martin Place to eat our breakfast.Croissant ($4.00). We were tempted to go back and get another croissant, we basically finished it a few steps away from the shop front.Choc eclair puff ($5.50). This was heaven. The choux pastry was perfect with its little bit of crunch, the vanilla bean cream was divine all topped off with the right amount of chocolate. I was also tempted to get another one of these as TimmyC ate most of this one.Mascarpone cake lightened mascarpone, layered with crispy coconut dacquoise, fresh strawberries ($10.00). The perfect marriage of strawberries and mascarpone with an added delight of the chewy coconut dacquoise layers. As much as I enjoyed this, I preferred the choc éclair puff more as it didn’t have the hype and expectations placed on it like the mascarpone cake had. I thought the price of one cake was a little steep considering its small serving size.

Sausage roll. Not the most delicious sausage roll I’ve had but it provided a good savoury relief from all the sweets I was having for breakfast.I am eager to head back there and eat more of these cakes and croissants while hopefully also getting to taste more of their cake range.

Venue: Lorraine’s Patisserie

Address: Shop 5, Palings Lane, 320 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone(02) 9254 8009

Flower child 

Tapping into local knowledge of North Sydney, I asked my cousin where should I go for brunch that is in Chatswood, has air con (it was forecasted to be a 38-degree day!), good food and easy access as we were going with TimmyC’s grandma. She gave me two options but she mentioned that Flower Child was a sister cafe of the famous Grounds of Alexandria- BINGO! That was the one we were going to choose, the only downside was that they don’t take any bookings. TimmyC’s parents went 1 hour early to book a table for 6 people, they had to leave their mobile number and would be called when the table was available. What was supposed to be a 35-minute wait turned into just over 1 hour because every man, woman and child decided to have brunch there as well.Freshly squeeze juices~

Watermelon, pineapple and orange ($7.00).

Pineapple, pear, apple, mint and ginger ($7.00). I would have liked a stronger ginger taste but the juice overall was nice and refreshing.Cake~

Passionfruit cheesecake ($7.00). I may have chosen this cake based on its pretty looks but luckily it was yummy. There weren’t many layers or different flavours in the cake so the price may seem a tad steep for its size and complexity. Breakfast~ available all day

Toast with jam toasted sourdough ($7.00) with avocado ($3.00). I thought I would have received house made jams as well as the avocado but apparently not. The reason why I ordered such a simple brunch was because I already had breakfast and this was really just supposed to be the savoury component as I was also ordering juice and cake.

Flower Child Fruit salad seasonal fresh fruits with compressed pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, lychee, pistachio, freeze-dried raspberries and yoghurt sorbet ($17.00). We didn’t see any lychee or grapefruit in the bowl but TimmyC happily enjoyed his light and refreshing breakfast but his favourite thing on the plate was that yoghurt sorbet. We are going to have to try and make some!Flower Child French toast banana mascarpone, sliced banana, dark chocolate crumb, baked pecans, fresh berries, salted toffee and maple syrup ($19.00). I didn’t know if all these ingredients would have made for an OTT breakfast but TimmyC’s Aunty finished the whole lot with ease.Brunch~ available all day

Tasmanian crispy skin salmon crispy skin salmon with young potatoes, green beans, truss tomatoes, radish, grapefruit, baby cos and olive tapenade mayo ($24.00). TimmyC’s Dad and Grandma both thoroughly enjoyed their meal. I loved the look of the crispy skin, it is making me crave salmon as I write this post.I think it was much easier to get a table for 2-4 people but I wouldn’t come here when it is really busy and expect to get a table without a small wait. Despite the hordes of people, a waitress set up our table, took our order and came back with our food in a timely manner. I loved the diverse range of menu items, the prettiness of the surrounds and food but I did not enjoy the wait and slightly cramped table we were on.

With gorgeous food and amazing looking cake cabinets like this, it is easy to see that this cafe has ties with The Grounds of Alexandria.Venue: Flower Child

Address: Level 3, Westfield Chatswood, 1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067

Phone(02) 9412 1555

Flower Child Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cumulus Inc.

After getting TimmyC the Melbourne experience, which involved a trendy haircut complete with a manscaping shave, we were off to get brunch. I had my eyes set on Cumulus Inc. down the road just a tram ride away. Of course, every Melburnian and person who can google were also there waiting in line and we joined the end of it.We happily get to the front of the line to only be told that there were only 20 minutes left of breakfast time and they could not guarantee that we would get a table. Breakfast is only served between 8am – 11:30am, while lunch is not served until midday. What do they do in between 11:30-12? They can offer you a muffin or madeleines filled with lemon curd.Being the optimist that I am, I opt to wait by the window in hopes that someone leaves their table before 11:30. We were one of the last people to be let in, the line behind me dissipated. They were probably turned away or weren’t willing to satisfy their brunch cravings with a small baked treat.

I start staring down everyone happily talking, eating and sitting at their tables, unsuccessfully trying to control their minds to get them the hell off the table so I could catch breakfast.11:28am- no one looked like they were moving. They didn’t care that a girl looked hungry by the corner of the restaurant constantly looking at her watch wanting time to slow down (or someone to hurry up). I must have looked desperate as the maître d came over with a menu and said that he would take our order now and give us the next available table. We didn’t need to look at the menu, we had already decided before we got there, I wanted the LUNE croissant, burnt butter sauce and spanner crab ($16.00) and TimmyC had his eye on the crumpets.There are no LUNE products left and the strict ‘no variations’ rule on the breakfast menu meant that I had to choose something else. My heart sinks but I quickly decide on the Cumulous Inc. breakfast and as soon as we ordered, a couple finally left the bar.

Cumulus Inc. breakfast boiled egg, toast, preserves, yoghurt, organic orange juice and coffee or tea ($16.00). I have a short attention span so a breakfast with so many different things to eat really worked well for me. The egg was cooked perfectly, I liked the variety of spreads and the yoghurt was really tart which worked well with the rhubarb topping. There was a nice selection of bread served with only just enough butter (a little more couldn’t hurt). I had the orange juice while TimmyC had the coffee.A perfect egg to dip my toast into.Nothing special about their OJ, it’s organic and comes from a bottle but it is nice to have a beverage included in the breakfast and not pay $7 for it.House made crumpets, whipped ricotta and rooftop honey ($10.00). Towards the end, I stole the rest of TimmyC’s breakfast. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy mine, I just loved his. The not too dense texture of the crumpets made for the best vessel to get as much whipped ricotta and honey to my mouth as possible. It wasn’t overly sweet and I loved the flavour combination.Flat white ($4.00). TimmyC loved his coffee so much, he ordered a second.Despite being very busy, all the staff were very friendly and attentive. It was a simple breakfast done well, I would have liked to have something more complex but in my mind, I didn’t have a plan B when the crab dish was unavailable. It looks like I will have to arrive a lot earlier next time or stay around for lunch.

Venue: Cumulus inc.

Address45 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone(03) 9650 1445

Cumulus Inc. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IHOP – Hawaiian Series

After what seemed like the longest flight ever, we finally got to our hotel only to be told our rooms were not ready yet, fair enough considering it was very early in the morning but that meant it was breakfast time! We dumped our bags and headed straight to IHOP (International House Of Pancakes) across the road.

It was my first trip to the US of A and I was excited to see all the franchises that I had only seen or heard about through TV and movies. I was overwhelmed to say the least. It was my first American meal, it was too early in the morning, the menu was massive and I didn’t know what I wanted to eat. On top of all this, I found a few things unusual which would apparently be the norm as I learnt throughout my trip.

  1. I would have to get used to tipping, luckily most bills have it calculated on the bottom for you and you choose a percentage
  2. The wait staff are really nice, helpful and attentive, I guess that’s because of point #1
  3. A lot of soft drinks come with refills
  4. So many meals come with a side of pancakes

Breakfast~ (I didn’t take photos of the large menu because I assumed they have one online but they don’t have prices)

Breakfast Sampler with our sampler, two is the magic number! That’s two eggs, two hickory-smoked bacon strips, two pork sausage links, two pieces of ham, two fluffy buttermilk pancakes and our golden hash browns. Being the indecisive person that I am, this is what I ultimately ordered, a little bit of everything. To be honest, I did not enjoy the savoury side at all. Everything was cold on my plate, the potato hash was oily and tasteless and everything else was a bit rubbery. The only saving grace were the pancakes, they were big and fluffy and I loved their whipped butter.Chicken Florentine Crepes two crepes filled with grilled chicken breast, mushrooms, onions, & Swiss cheese on a bed of spinach topped with White Cheddar Sauce, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. This was served hot and was ten times more delicious than my savoury plate.

2 x 2 x 2  two eggs with two signature buttermilk pancakes served with two crispy strips of hickory-smoked bacon or two savory pork sausage links. For the people who want a little bit of sweet and a little bit of savoury. I love how they have so many ways to serve an egg as well!Strawberry Pancakes our stack of four pancakes crowned with cool strawberries and creamy whipped topping. 

The service was friendly and attentive, unfortunately the food was a bit of a hit and miss. I will just stick to pancakes.

It was nice to have a variety of syrups available but my favourite was good old fashioned.Venue: IHOP

Address: 1850 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI96815-1602

IHOP Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Teddy Picker’s

It had not been 12 hours since we arrived home when TimmyC asked me if I wanted to eat breakfast at home or out. After 13+ years together, you’d think he would know the answer to that question. I had the exact place in mind of where I wanted brunch as soon as I was back in Canberra; the newly opened Teddy Picker’s in Campbell.

As we drove past roads lined with parked cars, it was reminding me of the almost impossible car parking situation in Braddon but we eventually found a spot a short stroll away. We were met with a relatively short line and we were told it was going to be a 10-15 minute wait until a table for two was available. With that, TimmyC ordered what appeared to be a very tiny small coffee ($4.00) and a Dream Cuisine croissant ($5.00) for whilst we waited outside.I love the funky interior setting of the cafe, the natural light through the windows makes it the perfect place to take food photos.Brunch is ready!Large flat white ($4.50). TimmyC said it was a nice smooth coffee but not the nicest one he has ever had.

The coffee had beautiful latte art before TimmyC dumped all the sugar on top.Vermont Chai infused tea recommended with soy ($5.50). I didn’t think the taste of chai was very strong but it was very milky and frothy.Pressed French toast blueberry custard, lemon yoghurt, macadamia ($17.50). There is an ever so slightly crunchy exterior of the French toast before you hit the squishy soft almost pudding-like centre. I like the subtle sweetness on the surface of the toast but I felt that the blueberry custard didn’t add anything except for visual effect. We really enjoyed the yoghurt + fresh blueberries + toasted macadamia combo.How soft and squishy does that French toast centre look!Eggs Benedict Christmas ham, smoked hollandaise, rye muffin, poached eggs ($16.90) + Teddy’s hash brown ($4.50). I think the Teddy’s hash brown makes everything better; add it to your benny, whopper, heck even your oats! I love how it was crunchy on the outside and soft and potatoey on the inside. TimmyC substituted the Christmas ham for Pialligo Estate bacon which accentuated the smokiness of the hollandaise. The rye muffin was a little tough to cut through but I really enjoyed this breakfast.

The big plate makes it look like something is missing from the breakfast.The eggs were cooked perfectly.This hash brown is what you need in your life right now!Double points to Teddy Picker’s for an awesome extensive tea menu and their collaboration with local businesses such as Tea Garden Co and Red Brick Espresso.

Once we were seated, the wait staff were very attentive, friendly and efficient. There wasn’t a long wait time for our food after ordering and our water bottle was never empty. I cannot wait to go back and try more of their menu.

Venue: Teddy Picker’s

Address: 53/65 Constitution Ave, Campbell ACT 2612

Phone: no phone number- don’t bother booking, they only take walk ins

Facebook//www.facebook.com/teddypickersest2016/

Teddy Picker's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoThey even have a cute ‘dog bar’ area for your furry companions.

Grain Store re-run

I knew heading to Grain Store in Melbourne on a Sunday morning for brunch with 6 people without a reservation was going to be a bit of a stretch, but these Canberrans didn’t mind sitting outside because we were hungry and it wasn’t that cold comparatively. The only caveat was that we had to go inside to order and pay (no table service), which we were happy to oblige with.

Beverages~

Hot chocolate Mork 70% dark, handcrafted in Melbourne, sweetened only with coconut blossom sugar ($4.50). Being a 70% dark hot chocolate, it was on the intense bitter side. My friend had to sweeten it a little with raw sugar.Prana Chai hand-made and blended in Melbourne from all natural ingredients and 100% Australian quality honey blended with tea and whole spices ($4.50). I love how they have chosen locally based items, it really shows that they have given the same attention to their beverage menu as well as their food items. This was a beautiful chai steeped in soy milk, I would have preferred it a touch sweeter though.Large flat white ($4.50). TimmyC quickly ordered another after drinking the first one.Brunch Weekends 8:00am – 3:00pm~

Despite being really busy, beverages were served rather promptly, quickly followed by food.

Wild mushrooms and poached eggs polenta, smoked tomato emulsion, pecorino ($20.00).Two free range eggs cooked to your liking on sour dough ($11.00) with a side of dry cured bacon ($5.00). They also gave TimmyC some sort of chilli jam which I loved and I spread it all over his bread and then ate it all.Portobello mushroom and raclette potato rosti poached eggs, spinach leaves, hazelnut hollandaise ($18.00). The mushrooms were plump and juicy, I found the potato rosti had a strong thyme flavour but it was offset by the fluffy potato. I really enjoyed the hazelnut hollandaise which topped off the whole breakfast perfectly. I could eat this every day if someone made it for me.Coconut semolina porridge and brulee banana lemongrass apple coulis, vanilla rhubarb, pistachio ($15.00).Dry cured bacon and smoked mozzarella bagel egg sunny side up, chipotle aioli, house ketchup ($16.00). I loved how the yolk pooled in the hole of the bagel. Definitely more upmarket than your average bacon and egg roll.Desserts~

Chocolate chip cookies and milk baked to order, please allow 10 minutes ($12.00). I am so glad that my friend ordered this. The aroma was absolutely divine with the perfect combination of cookie crunch and gooey melted chocolate chips that you can only get when fresh out of the oven. I think more cafes should do this, YUM!Crunchy and gooey, just how all cookies should be.What I love about their menu is that they have good ol’ breakfast classics like pancakes and eggs on toast but if you’re a little more adventurous, there were plenty of options. I found it hard to decide what I wanted because there was so many good choices.

As we left (closer to midday), it was starting to get really busy with other people sitting outside and a long queue for people waiting for tables.

Venue: Grain Store

Address: 517 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone(03) 9972 6993

The Public Place

My friend was coming from the north side of Canberra, so it seemed to her that she was driving to the other end of the earth (in Canberran speak) when I asked if we could have brunch at the very new The Public Place all the way down in Chisholm.We didn’t have a booking, we just rocked up and hoped for the best but we were able to get a table for three pretty easily on a Saturday.Mary had a little… burger slow cooked pulled lamb, aioli, rocket, fire roasted capsicum, crumbed (crumbled?)  Persian fetta and house tzatziki on a soft white roll with fries ($16.00).The first thing I noticed was the lack of fetta on the bun, I quickly enquired with a waitress who was very apologetic for the lack of fetta and pickle with the burger. I really enjoyed this burger more than I thought I would. I really liked the combination of the meaty lamb, saltiness of the fetta and the sweetness from the capsicum. No food regrets.

The burger before adding the fetta.The burger after adding the fetta.The Big Block 300g beef burger, house aioli, lettuce, tomato, pineapple, bacon, egg, lager braised onion, cheddar cheese on a soft white roll with fries and pickle ($20.00). Man, that was one gigantic beef patty! I didn’t like the texture of such a thick patty, I think I would have preferred two thinner patties. I enjoyed that they were very generous with all the ingredients and that the patty extended to the perimeter of the bun, a very important factor to me when it comes to burgers.Publics House Benny 2 poached eggs (my friend asked for fried) on a toasted bagel, house made potato and 16 hr slow cooked smoked ham hock crispy rosti with a smokey charred corn puree, avocado smash and a house chipotle hollandaise ($19.00). I think this dish was a bit confusing. My friend was lured by the sound of the rosti but I don’t think it translated well on the plate; instead of being crispy, the texture reminded me of bad faux meat. Overall, my friend was left disappointed and helped me finish my sausage roll instead.Sausage roll ($5.00?). The greedy little girl in me wanted to try as much as possible and if that meant including a sausage roll in my order, so be it. The sausage roll was a decent size with golden flaky pastry and the filling tasted like sausage meat. I want to try their house made pies next time.Orange and ginger juice ($8.00). A bit steep for a juice but it was made fresh to order.Tea ($4.00). I was impressed with their selection of milk which included lactose free, almond, coconut and soy.Hot chocolate ($3.50). If I didn’t get a juice I would have definitely ordered one of their decadent sounding hot chocolates like salted caramel or coconut rough.You have to line up and order at the counter and I felt ordering took a little longer than anticipated but the speed at which the food came was phenomenal. The staff were friendly enough and I really liked how the pies and pastries were made in house. Not the best cafe in Canberra but it has potential, a happy welcome to the southside dining scene nonetheless.

Mmmmm so many pie options.Venue: The Public Place

Address: 42 Halley St, Chisholm ACT 2905

Phone(02) 6292 9952

Websitewww.thepublicplace.com.au/

 

Casey Jones

It might seem like an odd statement to make considering I live on the other side of town but I have been waiting for Casey’s gastropub Casey Jones to open since before they started building the shops. I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview event and they showed us everything! A kitchen tour, the fit out of the whole funky place, a sneak peek and taste of their breakfast menu, mains, snacks, dessert as well as their wicked cocktail and mocktail menu. If the preview is anything to go by, Canberra hold onto your metaphorical hats, you’re in for a real treat!I really like the set up; it is really spacious, the tables which are made from old railroad sleepers are gorgeous and in the summer time there is opportunity to extend dining and perhaps a beer garden outside. I think open area near the bar is going to be versatile for functions and large groups.Next up: the staff. We had an opportunity to catch up with all the staff including owner Josh, maître d’ Sorrel, head chef Abel and head barman/mixologist Jamie. Each and every one of them were all very passionate about what they are doing and what they want to achieve here at Casey Jones. Their commitment and talents are showcased through their fabulous service, delectable food, awesome drinks and amazing atmosphere.

Jamie gave a few cocktail making demonstrations and even though I don’t drink, even I was tempted and sampled some of his champagne cocktails, affogatos, cocktails and a large range of his non-alcoholic spritzers.

That is a lot of beer on tap!How pretty are the champagne cocktails!I would be tempted to order the affogato instead of dessert! This was incredible.You should try one of their signature cocktails Casey Jones smoked maple bacon and cherry infused old fashioned ($24.00). It will sure to impress with the added theatrics when it is served, plus it comes with  a strip of delicious maple bacon. YUM!
Salted caramel espresso martini with vanilla foam ($18.00).Their espresso martini smelled so so so good.Mocktails: I had had my fill of alcohol for the night and wanted to test Jamie’s skills with non-alcoholic beverages. We got a large variety and it was hard to choose a favourite between the raspberry + basil, lemon + pineapple spritzer and virgin passionfruit mojito. They were really really really good (I’ve had a fair few non-alcoholic beverages in my time). Blood orange spritzer was our least favourite because it wasn’t as sweet as the others which might suit some.Now onto more important things: the food. We naturally started with breakfast and progressed our way through the menu. I am very much a savoury girl but even I swooned over the pretty sweet options. We were lucky enough to try these with compliments of the establishment but I have included prices for your reference.

Breakfast~ starting from top left- clockwise.

Chia seeds, organic quinoa, almond milk bircher, compressed and fresh fruit, seeds ($14.00). A healthy start to the day begins with this bowl of superfood which is sweetened only with fruit.

Sourdough, local poached eggs, Pialligo award winning bacon or smoked rainbow trout, pickled red cabbage, aerated hollandaise ($18.00). These were bang on perfectly poached eggs and I’ve never had Pialligo’s smoked rainbow trout but now I’m wondering where has it been all my life. This was my pick of the breakfast dishes that we sampled but I have my eye on their egg and bacon roll (milk bun, award winning Pialligo bacon, fried eggs, ranchero relish, Iberico cheese $14.00).

Ancient grain sourdough, local poached eggs, avocado, fennel, garden kale, dukka, grana padano ($18.00). Between running around taking photos and trying to eat as much rainbow trout as I could, I completely forgot to sample this one. Ooopsie!

Citrus hotcake, pickled rhubarb, compressed honeydew, organic maple syrup, macadamias, pistachio ($16.50). I had to double take on the hotcake as I thought there were multiple, no this was one thick fluffy hotcake with a delicious crusty exterior. Upon reading the description, I wasn’t sure how this one was going to taste. Call me a traditionalist, but I like my pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup but I am glad I tried this because the Pepe Saya’s mascarpone cheese with the compressed honeydew made this my very close second breakfast choice during the preview event.Snacks~ starting from top left- clockwise.

Cherry Cola chicken wings, scallions, sriracha aioli, celery (8 pieces $15.90). Okay, confession time. I had read their menu well before the preview event and my heart skipped a beat when I read about this dish. Don’t be put off by the name, despite having Cola, housemade cherry jam and also cherry Cola, this dish isn’t sweet at all; instead they are sticky, moreish and definitely not for sharing. Order a plate each. 🙂

Chorizo, onions, kiss peppers, garlic, chilli ($14.00). A nice flavoursome chorizo balanced out by the onions and peppers.

Homeleigh Grove olives, orange, thyme, assorted petite bread ($10.90). The olives were great and the bread was served piping hot, but I felt that the bread either needed a good EVOO or butter.

Crispy spiced okra, smetana, dukkah, lemon ($12.00). This was a surprising favourite. We don’t get much exposure to okra except for overcooked ones in curries but this reminded me of zucchini flowers but with a different texture.Mains~

Belly of pork, fennel, apple, watermelon, mustard fruit, watercress ($23.90). I really enjoyed the pork belly which had the right amount of meat to fat ratio, but I don’t think this portion would have filled me as my main. I prefer my pork belly with a side of cauliflower puree but the fruit keeps the whole dish light and refreshing.‘Po Boy’ charcoaled brioche, crispy soft shell crab, sriracha aioli, pickled sesame slaw, coriander, hand cut potatoes ($22.90). Everything was perfect about this Po Boy. The brioche was soft and had a striking appearance, the crab was crispy without being oily and the sauce and slaw was the perfect accompaniment on the bun. This was a very close second pick from the mains.Gumbo, prawns, vongole, calamaretti, pork sausage, chilli, okra, black barley ($24.90). I haven’t had many gumbos in my life and it isn’t a dish I usually gravitate towards but the smell was intoxicating and the broth had lots of depth. We should have saved some bread to mop up the bowl.Salad of burrata cheese, romesco emulsion, heirloom carrots, beets, radish, black salt ($20.90). A very picturesque plate with beautiful root vegetables on showcase but the star for me was that cheese.Wagyu rump, onions, cauliflower, mojo verde, aioli, smoked butter ($31.90). We almost broke out into a fight at the table as I was willing to duel anyone for this dish. The wagyu meat was so tender and so flavoursome, it didn’t really need anything else at on the plate, although I did love watching the generous amount of butter melt all over. I would happily come back and order this again and again and again. This would be awesome with a side of fries.Dessert~

Citrus panna cotta with a berry sauce and chocolate soil. I really enjoyed the texture of the panna cotta, it passed the jiggle test and it was perfectly smooth. I found it disappointing though that the sweetness only came from the compote and the soil. We gave feedback that the panna cotta needed to be sweeter.Cakes~

One of the first things to catch my eye was that gorgeous cake cabinet. My pick would be that mango/orange cake on the bottom left hand side.I thinkI think it is incredible with what they have done with the space, menu and drinks out in the suburbs. I really enjoyed their food and them using Pepe Saya, Pialligo Estate products, Three Mills Bakery bread and Gunning Bumnut eggs is just a bonus!

They will open tomorrow morning at 7am for breakfast and with their highly anticipated opening, I hear they are booked out this Saturday and Sunday. 

Venue: Casey Jones

Address: 15 Kingsland Parade, Casey, 2913

Phone: (02) 6253 8961

Bookings: They have a handy booking system on their website

Websitehttp://caseyjones.pub/

Opening hours: 7 days a week starting from 7am
Casey Jones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Palate Pleasure Cafe

After a wonderful day of over indulging yesterday, I didn’t have a breakfast location scouted out but my friends had heard good things about the Palate Pleasure Cafe, just off the main street.

There was six of us without a booking but they were very accommodating and we were seated after a bit of a wait and a table shuffle.

Palate Pleasure chai tea our blend of organic leaf tea, exotic spices, brown sugar and honey. Regular or soy milk ($4.95). This had such a great description, I imagined a well steeped tea that was creamy and sweet. This was really watery and not sweet at all, very disappointing. I did enjoy the chocolate bullet though.Flat white coffee (regular $3.85).Eggs Benedict two poached eggs, bacon and wilted spinach topped with house made zesty hollandaise ($18.50). My friend’s poached eggs were completely overdone and the hollandaise tasted a bit funny. She didn’t eat much of her breakfast. B&E bacon and eggs, with buttered toast and roast tomato ($16.50) with a side of mushrooms ($4.40). The poached eggs were also over done but it didn’t ruin the dish because the bacon was nice.Palate speciality pancakes soft buttermilk pancakes with mascarpone cream, and a poached strawberry compote ($16.50). Even though we explicitly asked for the compote to be served on the side, it still came drizzled all over the first time and we had to send it back to the kitchen. Luckily my friend is a fast eater so he still finished his breakfast at the same time as everyone else.The Big Breaky with all the trimmings, bacon, two eggs, roast tomato, mushrooms, sausages, hashbrown and buttered toasted ($20.35). No complaints here, everything was done well and the buttered toast was a welcome treat.Banana bread with honey and ricotta ($7.70) and a side of bacon ($4.40). When a mini loaf of banana bread with placed in front of me, I thought it was adorable. I have eaten a lot of banana bread which usually come out as a slice but I’ve never seen a mini loaf. Unfortunately, that is where my good impression ended. The banana bread was dry, not sweet at all and didn’t taste like banana. Thank goodness I had a side of bacon to drown my disappointment.We had mixed reactions over brunch but no one was overly impressed. They were really busy which might have been a contributing factor, but there are many other places to eat in Bowral so we will not be back.

Venue: Palate Pleasure Cafe

Address: Shop 1-3, 350 Bong Bong Street, Bowral NSW 2576

Phone: (02) 4861 7411
Palate Pleasure Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

A bite to eat re-run

TimmyC asked me where I would like to go for brunch on a lazy Sunday morning, I rattled off half a dozen south side options and he narrowed it down to three; it was my turn to pick. I chose A Bite to Eat because I didn’t eat as much as I wanted to last time (see my previous post here) and I had a craving for a thickshake.

We walked to the counter and asked if there was a table for two available, the waitress said that the whole top area was reserved but there was a cute table by the window available. We were given two menus and headed over to our table.

We grabbed a table by the window and cute cushions.Flat white (I don’t remember the price) and Caramel thickshake ($6.60). I didn’t have the greatest thickshake experience the first time, especially when it came highly recommended by a close friend but I was willing to give it another shot. It came in a tall old school metal cup which kept it cold throughout our meal. Smooth, thick and sweet just like a good thickshake should be. Even though we were both full, TimmyC and I drank every last drop because we didn’t want to waste it. YUM! When I get thickshake cravings, I know where I’m going to go!Breakfast served all day~Sriracha should be at every cafe.Pig pocket tortilla pocket filled with scrambled eggs, mozzarella cheese and a bacon ($8.40). I know small things amuse small minds but I loved the fact that the house made baked beans version of this dish was called a bean bag. SQUEEEEEEE! So cute. This might not seem very complex or interesting, but it was exactly what I felt like eating. There are a combination of sauces on the table to help make it to your liking.Standard two free range eggs (scrambled, poached or fried) with bacon on sourdough toast *with butter on request ($14.00). It is funny  that this is called ‘standard’ because this is one of TimmyC’s standards for breakfast at a cafe. He asked for fried eggs and also requested butter.

TimmyC should just point to his shirt when he orders breakfast. I love the decor here, everything is laid back and very relaxed. I thought their prices were also very reasonable. Despite being busy, the service was friendly and attentive; I was actually surprised about how fast the food came out.

I didn’t need edible flowers all over my plate, a doughnut sitting on top of my thickshake or quinoa on every dish, I just wanted a simple breakfast with my sweetheart in a cute cafe and A Bite to Eat delivered on every level. I’m so glad that this cafe is on the south side.
A Bite To Eat, A Drink As Well Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate 

We enjoyed our lunch at Pialligo Estate Farmhouse so much that before we left, we made a reservation for breakfast at the Garden Pavilions. They have gorgeous views and we thought it would be a great way to start the weekend.We were lucky to have beautiful blue skies and great weather during our visit.So picturesque, you would not think you were 10 minutes away from the city.Flat white coffee ($4.00) and a chai latte ($5.00).Breakfast set menu (2 courses $32.00 per person).

To start~I love their personalised cutlery.Selection of bakery goods with breads, rolls and croissant served with cultured butter and new season jams from the Estate’s orchard. I really enjoyed their bread and I won’t say how much butter I smeared on it but I will tell you that I moved the butter aside so I could also use it in my next course. I didn’t get much of the baked goods because I was busy eating my pancake but I thought the croissant was very flaky but not as buttery as I would have liked. This was my first choice until TimmyC decided he wanted it, I could see this as one of the more popular choices.TimmyC really enjoyed his galette while I was tempted to ask for more bread.Ricotta pancakes with a reduction of our Sangiovese grape juice, peppered peaches and whipped cream. When they wrote plural ‘pancakes’, I did expect more than one but by the time I finished this I was glad that there was only one because it was rather quite filling. I really enjoyed it because it was simple and sweetened by fruit so not OTT.To follow~ I must say, TimmyC and I were rather quite content after our first course, but I was very much looking forward to my savoury option.

Award winning Pialligo Smokehouse bacon, poached eggs,  and open-fire sour dough. A great classic breakfast made even better by the fact that they use their amazing bacon.Baked beans with our own chorizo and bacon, potatoes, poached egg and just harvested vine tomatoes. I was slightly taken back by the size of the bowl that this was served in; even if I skipped the first course I’m not sure I could have finished the whole dish. I dipped my fork in quickly to taste the baked beans and it reminded me of the filling of supreme pizza pocket with a chili hot aftertaste. Despite being full, I don’t know how much I could have eaten because I found the sauce so hot. I ended up picking out all the bacon and chorizo and ate it with buttered bread.A nice thick baked bean mixture with bacon and chorizo pieces mixed in.We really enjoyed the views and the food but I found the service that we experienced was a bit lacking. I’ve come to expect great service based on my previous visits from Pialligo Estate but I’m hoping it was a once off. Definitely worth going to visit for a casual breakfast, I just wish they had smaller breakfast options.

The view from within the pavilion.Venue: Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060
Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe

Welcome to the The Grounds of Alexandria, the most Instagrammable place on the planet. You could tell my level of excitement as I wasn’t even phased when they told us it would be a 45 – 1 hour wait for a table at The Grounds Cafe on a Sunday for brunch. We took a buzzer and went off exploring.Where to start? Pastries of course!
We went past the cute vintage carts selling nuts, freshly made doughnuts, cakes and slices, complete with an old school lemonade stand.How cute is this place?!img_3214
Doughnuts filled with Nutella and Raspberry jam. The area is rather quite big and very popular. There is a beautiful area called ‘The Garden bar’ where it appears to be more casual with no table service but an amazing outdoor area with lots of sun light shining through.TimmyC couldn’t wait 1 hour before having coffee, so he ordered one from The Garden Bar.
There is also a beautiful outdoor florist on-site as well as a local watering hole called ‘The Potting Shed’, I loved how all the venues have a common garden theme which ties them all together.
Even the menu is cute, this place is ridiculous!I could live here.
There is also the famous resident on site, Kevin Bacon and his little farm animal friends.
After what seemed like forever because I was getting hungry and was almost tempted to buy a cheeseburger from the Garden bar, our buzzer went off. We hurriedly moved our way through the crowds and waved our buzzer around like we had just won a game of bingo only to meet another line where there were other lucky ‘winners’ also with alarming buzzers, but we were all quickly seated and given a menu.
 
I was surprised to find the inside of the cafe so dark, especially when the outside was such a beautiful day. It made it a little harder to take photos (that might just be an Instagrammer problem).
Char-grilled steak sandwich pasture fed sirloin steak, cheddar cheese, tomato, grilled Spanish onion, horseradish aioli and rocket on a toasted vienna bread ($18.00). My jaw almost dropped when I saw the size of my plate in comparison to everyone else’s. The burgers were served with a side of chips but the length of their tray was the size of my sandwich. I really enjoyed how they had cut up the steak into pieces and covered the entire sandwich, it made it easier to eat and there is nothing more sad that a sandwich with uneven filling. I wish it came with a side of chips but my friends were nice enough to share with me.
Deconstructed iced coffee house blend coffee shot, cold brewed coffee ice, sugar syrup with milk ($8.00). Who likes a diluted warm iced coffee? Not really anyone, so the clever people at the Grounds have made their ice cubes for the iced coffee out of coffee. Not only that, but they also give you milk on the side so you can adjust the milkiness to your liking as well as provide you with a novelty syringe filled with sugar syrup.
I love how the bottle that has the coffee reads ‘poison’.     Super chocolate and hazelnut shake ($8.50).
Freshly squeezed juice pineapple, watermelon and passionfruit ($8.00).
Chicken schnitzel burger crispy free range chicken breast, slaw, vine ripened tomato, rocket and mustard aioli in a pretzel bun with crunchy beer battered chips ($21.00).
The ‘Ground’ burger Grounded beef brisket, cheese, lettuce, dill, cornichon and mayo on a toasted brioche bun, served with crunchy beer battered chips ($19.00).
Poached eggs on toast class poached eggs served on The Grounds signature sourdough ($12.00). TimmyC wanted a vegetarian option and so he chose this simple dish. He said it was nice but they sort of burnt the toast.
I was like an excited kid who couldn’t sit still. If we were waiting for the food or the bill, I’d be up taking photos of their gorgeous cake cabinet or waiting for my Instagram photos to print on their automatic printer.
I think I need one of these for home!
I really enjoyed that The Grounds have a really fantastic atmosphere and while they are extremely busy, the food still comes out at a fast pace and all the prices aren’t ridiculous. No real downside other than the wait times to get a table but there are many things on site to keep your eyes occupied.
Venue: The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe
Address: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015

Opening times:

Monday to Friday           7am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)

Saturday and Sunday    7:30am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3:30pm)

The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Galleon Cafe – Melbourne series

 

TimmyC’s trendy cousin took us out for brunch at the Galleon Cafe near Ackland street; it is a hipster central cafe decked out in mismatched vintage furniture (it reminded us of A bite to Eat in Chifley) and really friendly staff. There was a bit of a line up at the front to get a seat but since we didn’t mind squishing to one side whilst sitting outside, we got a table fairly quickly.
Us seating outside smooshed to one side, just trying out the fish eye camera lens that I got for Christmas.
A peek inside the cafe: the view from the outside.
There was a bit of a wait for food and beverages but they were super busy.
Scrambled tofu with mushroom, spinach and crispy fried enoki with sour dough toast – vegan ($14.50). I surprised even myself when I ordered this but I love a good tofu scramble ever since my friend made an awesome one for me years ago (hello Mellie!). I think because it doesn’t have a sauce or bacon, it needed a good dose of flavour or salt from something and this tofu scramble just didn’t have that. I think if it had more salty notes or chilli it would have been a lot better. I love the addition of fried enoki and I think I’ll be doing that more often in my own home cooking.
Eggs Benedict made with our house made hollandaise sauce with bacon and two eggs ($14.00). I really liked their house made hollandaise and was sporadically dipping my forkful in it. The eggs were probably ever so slightly over cooked, maybe 30 seconds less it would have been perfect. 
Poached eggs on toast (full serve $10.00) with a sweet potato hash brown ($4.50).
Banana and date loaf (baked in house) toasted with vanilla bean ricotta (half serve $4.00?). I am always torn between savoury and sweet for breakfast, so today I decided I will have both. It probably didn’t really matter what was underneath because the vanilla bean ricotta stole the show! A semi sweet, rich creamy paste that I smothered all over the bread. I’m going to have to start making my own ricotta soon.
Fresh juice orange, pineapple and ginger ($7.50). This was a nice refreshing sweet juice but I couldn’t taste any ginger.
Despite being bogged down heavily with patrons, I found all the staff at Galleons to be super friendly. I loved the diversity in the menu from different toasts, bagels, breakfast bowls to a wide variety of vegetarian, non vegetarian and a whole bunch of extras. The most expensive menu item was $15.50 and a lot of options come with half serves for those who don’t eat as much as me; making this place very accommodating and cheap!

 

Venue: The Galleon Cafe
Address: 9 Carlisle St, St Kilda VIC 3182
Phone: (03) 9534 8934

The Galleon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Easey’s – Melbourne series

When TimmyC’s trendy cousin was telling me about a place that we were going for breakfast which was in train carriage on top of a building, I thought to myself ‘only in Melbourne’. Surprisingly, these trains carriages were up on the building before the burger joint Easey’s moved in and they only occupy one of the carriages; I think an Entertainment lawyer is next door.We can spot the joint a mile away!There is some seats outside if you don’t want to dine in the train carriage.BLT streaky bacon, egg, ketchup and double cheese ($6.00).Sausage and egg sanga sausage patty, egg, ketchup and double cheese ($6.00). I love cheese so the double cheese was great for me but I wasn’t too big on the texture of the sausage patty (think sausage meat shaped into a patty), which was somewhat springy. Still, it was only 6 bucks.Just in case you wondered what it looked like under all that cheese.Chicken tenders three southern fried chicken pieces with perinnaise ($5.50). I really enjoyed this over my breakfast burger. The chicken was super crispy but the flavour hit definitely came from the sauce.When we ordered water for the table, we were very grateful that all the glasses came with lots of ice. It can get hot up there, even with the air con on!  I took the stairs going up to see the cool graffiti art but the lift going downIt might be the world’s slowest lift, but it will take you to the 4th floor when your legs cannot.The view from the window.Inside the train carriage is pretty cute.
Neighbouring graffiti, I love the detail in the eye.
Our breakfast bill came to the grand whopping total of $23.50 albeit no drinks but still a bargain! I probably wouldn’t come for breakfast again, but their burgers looked awesome and worth coming back for, especially if they have double cheese on them too.

 

Venue: Easey’s

Address: 48 Easey street, Collingwood, VIC 3066

Phone: OFFICE: (03) 90795942 TAKE AWAY: (03) 90795940

Websitehttp://easeys.com.au/

Easey's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato